June 4, 2023

The Filipino’s indomitable spirit is at its peak. Everywhere, people are gathering goods and finances to help our kababayans in Taal. It’s heartwarming. I get teary eyed just by looking at all the preparations. At the same time, I’m happy that these Taal Volcano eruption victims are still able to laugh at themselves with the men wearing women’s dusters, wedding gowns, and even Girl Scout uniforms, kasi ‘yun lang ang nakuha nila.
But there are also sad scenarios when giving to the unfortunate victims becomes a power game for some. Social media has done a great job of providing us with up-to-date news, including dismal ones, like the victims securing clearances or original signatures from barangay captains, otherwise, “hindi kasali sa bigayan.” Can you imagine that? What for? Biktima na nga, binibiktima pa uli.
This is not the first time we are witnessing this scenario. The 1990 earthquake in Baguio had a lot of those scenes. The Department of Tourism-Cordillera, then a distribution center, saw corned beef turning into all kinds of sardines. World-class blankets donated by big hotels becoming Ilocano blankets. Generators disappearing in broad daylight.
And there was Typhoon Yolanda, where rotting goods in warehouses was reported. Why the need to repack? Ipamigay na ang relief goods diretso sa taongbayan.
The Baguio General Hospital Advisory Board headed by Ram Sharma is partnering with donors like the Indian Society Manav Seva, the University of the Cordilleras Alumni Association headed by Atty. Erdolfo Balajadia, and the Fernando & Rosa Bautista Foundation headed by Edmund Bautista, so the board can collect more financial help to purchase mats or insulators, blankets, pillows, and food like canned goods for direct distribution to the victims at evacuation centers.
We don’t want to see that lady on loud speaker instructing the victims to bring original papers or signed documents.
The Board of Trustees of BGHAB, together with representatives of the Manav Seva, met with Mayor Benjamin Magalong regarding goods and food distribution. The mayor identified the goods and the critical and affected areas.
Antoinette “Toni” Hamada, publisher and general manager of the Baguio Midland Courier and member of the BGH Advisory Board, will solicit more help through the Courier. Donations in kind like mats, pillows, toiletries, new underwear, and canned goods can be dropped off at the Baguio Midland Courier office at 16 Kisad Road. Toni says all donations received will be logged for proper acknowledgment. To make the kids happy, SM Baguio through mall manager Rona Vida Correa is donating care bears.
For more information about the relief drive, please get in touch with the Courier.
Watch out for the Coffee Festival of La Trinidad, Benguet with the theme, “Aroma of coffee, harmony of the community” happening on Feb. 4 to 8. Satiate your coffee craving with unlimited coffee servings. The festival will sell coffee products directly from the coffee growers, guaranteed to be 100 percent the best coffee from Benguet.
The schedule of the festival events includes visits to coffee facilities and farms, coffee education and conference, barista demonstration, coffee cupping and roasting, and a showcase of different coffee products of Benguet. See you there!

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